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PAIRINGS: CHEESE & BOURBON


PAIRINGS: CHEESE AND BOURBON Unfortunately, most of our customers are “Blind Dating” when it comes to cheese. Pairing can be as easy as pairing up milk and honey or it can be confusing, like ketchup goes with French fried potatoes, but doesn’t work as well with a baked potato, even though they are both potatoes. Helping customers find good pairings is about finding out what they like, that means you need to understand more than just the cheese. A key to helping a customer is asking them what they like, sounds simple, but it is a good start. You can take 20 India Pale Ales and they can be radically different in the amount of hops and intensity, which could make one work well and another be an awful choice with the same cheese. Even in wine you can have a wide choice of styles of Chardonnay, one could be perfect while another could be too strong and overpower the cheese.


So how do we help them make good choices for their beverage and food pairings at store level. I have always advocated that you have to pair with a specific brand and style of beverage. This puts the


cheese and the beverage at a better advantage to pair better. Another issue is that you will not find everyone liking the cheese or beverage that you selected, everyone’s palate is different along with their likes and dislikes.


Think about having a dinner at a restaurant and you pick only 1 beverage for your entire meal, it has to work with the Appetizer, Salad, Entrée, and Dessert. As a Court of Master Sommelier I can recommend a beverage for each part of the meal and many times picking one would work with most parts, but generally not all.


In What’s in Store Live Cheese & Bourbon “Paired Right,” pairing cheeses with spirits can be a problem if the alcohol overpowers the cheeses or vice versa. In pairing with Bourbons there are some very subtle flavors from smoky, malt, spices, and molasses, all of these flavors generally work well with cheeses. The real problem besides the high level of alcohol is the cheeses overpowering the subtle flavors, so picking the cheese is more of a balance of intensity as well as its flavors.


Source: Paired Right, Workshop in What's in Store Live, IDDBA 19 WHAT’S IN STORE | 2020 © 2020 International Dairy Deli Bakery Association © 2019 International Dairy Deli Bakery Association Cheese AA

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